Windhoek, Pyongyang cement ties

Namibia and North Korea said on Thursday they hoped to strengthen their economic ties, as North Korea’s head of state warned against countries plundering resources from poor African countries.

Kim Yong-Nam, North Korea’s de facto head of state, arrived in Namibia on Thursday as part of a goodwill visit to three African nations, including Angola and Uganda.

Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba told Yong-Nam his country hoped to explore cooperation in trade and commerce, transport and communication, defence, agriculture and energy, healthcare, education and the environment.

“I trust that these official talks will serve to re-energise bilateral cooperation between our two countries,” Pohamba told Yong-Nam and his 23-member delegation at State House.

He said an agreement on economic, scientific and technical cooperation signed by the two countries in 1993, provided a solid framework to “achieve our common goals for the mutual benefit of our countries and peoples”.

Yong-Nam said he saw “many positive changes” in Namibia, since his last visit as foreign minister 18 years ago when the country obtained its independence from South Africa

“I propose that we will from now on hold regular high-level political talks and expand bilateral cooperation on the economy and culture to the same level,” Yong-Nam told Pohamba through an interpreter.

He said African countries must continue to be “vigilant against the effects of globalisation”.

“They must be able to cope with the big powers who scramble for Africa’s natural resources. Globalisation widens the gap between the developed rich [nations] and the underdeveloped poor. The rich nations plunder the poor in a disguised way.”

The two leaders witnessed the signing of agreements allowing the exchange of medical experts, the sharing of information on medical care, science and technology.

Briefing Pohamba shortly on the relations with South Korea, Kim said “we are ready to implement the declaration of October 2004.
The door is wide open for future dialogue.”

During the three-day visit to Namibia Kim will attend celebrations marking the anniversary of the country’s independence, before leaving on Sunday.

North Korea, a “staunch supporter of the South West Africa People’s Organisation (Swapo) party during Namibia’s liberation struggle”, helped build the new state house in Windhoek which is being inaugurated on Friday. - Sapa-AFP

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